(CNSNews.com) - The United States has gone a record 13 straight years without 3-percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the 2018 estimate released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“Real GDP increased by 2.9 percent in 2018 (from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2017,” the BEA said in its release announcing the initial estimate for GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The last time real GDP grew by 3 percent or better was in 2005, when it grew when it grew by 3.5 percent.
Since then there have been three years—2006, 2015 and 2018--when real GDP grew by 2.9 percent. But 2.9 percent was the highest rate of annual growth in real GDP that the United States saw in the thirteen years from 2006 through 2018.
The BEA has published its estimate of the annual growth in real GDP for each of the last 89 years—from 1930 through 2018. In those 89 years, the 13-year stretch from 2006 through 2018 is the longest period in which the nation has failed to see even a single year in which real GDP grew by 3.0 percent or better.
In fact, the second longest stretch of years that did not see real GDP grow by at least 3.0 percent are the first four years on record—1930 through 1933—when real GDP declined by -8.5 percent, -6.4 percent, -12.9 percent and -1.2 percent respectively.
In 1934, real GDP bounced back by growing 10.8 percent.
Since then, there have been four periods when real GDP did not grow by at least 3.0 percent for three straight years (1945-47, 1956-58, 1980-82 and 2001-2003).
But prior to the current 13-year period when real GDP has failed to grow by 3.0 percent in any year, there has been no stretch (in the years since 1930) when the United States went as long as five straight years with real GDP failing to grow by at least 3 percent.
The worst economic performance in the past 13 years came in 2008 and 2009, when real GDP declined by -0.1 percent and -2.5 percent, respectively. That was during the Great Recession that started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.
In the nine full years that have passed since the end of the recession (2010 through 2018), real GDP growth has averaged 2.25 percent.
By contrast, after the stock market crash in 1929, the United States saw four years of negative annual GDP—1930 (-8.5), 1931 (-6.4), 1932 (-12.9) and 1933 (-1.2). But then in the nine full years from 1934 through 1942, real GDP grew by an average of 9.75 percent.
There was one year in that period (1938) when real GDP declined by -3.3, and two years during World War II (1941 and 1942) when real GDP grew by 17.7 percent and 18.9 percent. (The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on Dec. 7, 1941.).
In the first nine years of the 1940s (1940 through 1948), which included the World War II years, real GDP grew at an average rate of 6.8 percent. There were three years in that period (1945, 1946 and 1947) when real GDP declined by -1.0 percent, -11.6 percent and -1.1 percent.
In the first nine years of the 1950s (1950 through 1958), real GDP grew by an average of 3.94 percent. During that period, there were two years (1954 and 1958) when real GDP declined by -0.6 percent and -0.7 percent.
In the first nine years of the 1960s (1960 through 1968), real GDP grew by an average of 4.4 percent. There were no years during that period that saw negative real GDP.
In the first nine years of the 1970s (1970 through 1978), real GDP grew at an average of 2.65 percent. There were two years during that period (1974 and 1975) when real GDP declined -0.5 percent and -0.2 percent.
In the first nine years of the 1980s (1980 through 1988), real GDP grew at an average of 3.3 percent. There were two years during that period (1980 and 1982) when real GDP declined by -0.3 percent and -1.8 percent.
In the first nine years of the 1990s (1990 through 1998), real GDP grew at an average of 3.1 percent. There was one year during that period (1991) when real GDP declined by -0.1 percent.
In the first nine years of the 2000s (2000 through 2008), real GDP grew at an average of 2.4 percent. There was one year during that period (2008) when real GDP declined by -0.1 percent.